Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The Vancouver International Airport has the most lovely and creative arrivals area I've ever seen in an airport. After disembarking from my flight, I entered a wooden walkway that weaved its way through an zoo and aquarium-quality exhibit of British Columbia's outdoors, complete with flora and a rushing brook. A recording of nature sounds played in the background. I almost felt like I was walking through the wilds, and would not have been entirely surprised if an animal had crossed my path. The rest of the airport featured majestic indigenous art.

My initial impression of Vancouver upon leaving the airport was that it looked like any suburban city in the U.S.--broad streets, strip malls, low-slung buildings. For some reason, I kept thinking Vancouver looked a lot like Cleveland. All of a sudden, I was jarred by an HSBC branch, its sign and posters in Chinese characters. Woah! Just when I felt I was back in the familiar suburbia of North America, a sight pulls me back to Taiwan.

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